Up & Coming Weekly

August 18, 2020

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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Page 17 of 24

WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM AUGUST 19-25, 2020 UCW 17 With only a few years' exception, we have always had a family dog. On two separate occasions we were stationed abroad, and that's the only time in 40 years I can recall not having a four-legged family member. It wasn't until recently, though, that we had a pet that used a crate in the house. When it was rst suggested to us, I declined; the notion of leaving a family member in a cage while we were away seemed cruel to me. To my surprise, he warmed up to it imme- diately. Champ is a good-sized dog. He's an American Bulldog — and a bunch of something else — tipping the scales at almost 80 pounds, and we nearly go nose-to-nose when he stands on his hind legs. But something I've observed about him and the crate speaks to the need we all have for a place of refuge. While I've attended more services since March of this year than I did in all of 2019, it's been ve months since I've been to church. I miss it. I miss the camaraderie, the fellowship, the hugs and handshakes. Initially, the doors at my church and many other churches were closed as people moved to online church services in response to COVID-19. During that time, though, I started working with local church leaders to facilitate drive-in services over the radio. But as my home church began meeting again, I found myself having to miss in-person gatherings for the new Sunday morning work obli- gation I'd created. I enjoy 'visiting' other churches online, whether it's my sister-in-law's church in Wichita, Kansas, or the congregation my friend pastors just outside Stedman, but I miss gathering with my church family even more. ere's something about the close - ness of gathering in a church setting that makes me feel safe. Not meeting for Sunday morning worship service hasn't hindered my ability or desire to worship God at all, but there's something about the collective expe- rience with others that adds an alto- gether dierent dynamic. Observing my dog and his crate, in light of my longing to gather, I begin to understand the passage in Psalm 91 a little more clearly: "is I decla - re about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God, and I trust him." is hulk of a dog, whose size and appearance made neighbors choose social distancing before it was a thing at all, will run to that crate when he's afraid. He'll retreat to the seeming safety of that simple shelter when he senses anger, and he will voluntarily curl up and sleep within its four open walls whether we're home or away. It's his refuge. He has the run of the house and yard, but chooses to return to somet- hing simple that promises a closeness and protection nothing else can. A place to run and seek refuge by DAN DEBRULER DAN DEBRULER, General Manager, WCLN. Comments? Editor@upandcomingweekly. com. 910-484-6200. Champ has taught his human companion a thing or two about the importance of having a refuge, a place to retreat during challenging times. OPINION ALL TOGETHER NOW. We've been hard at work reporting the latest news and informing you about a pandemic that's disrupted everyone's lives. We're proud of our brand of trusted journalism. Now, as our nation looks to reopen, rebound and resurge, our advertising representatives are here to help your business. Hire us to help get your customers back and your employees ready. Nobody cares more about your success than us. No one has an engaged audience like ours. Our growth online, combined with print, is impressive as more readers turn to us for local news. Newspapers are your best investment. We care about local. NEWSPAPER POWER. Print, Digital & Social Solutions for your advertisers. Design by Metro Creative Graphics, Inc. www.upandcomingweekly.com Design by Metro Creative Graphics, Inc.

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